In late December 2020, the Green Building Council Italia brought together thousands of green building professionals, economists, green finance experts and policy makers. Key focus of the online event was the European Commission’s strategy for:
- reducing carbon emissions via enhanced buildings energy and environmental performance;
- promoting digitalisation across the building industry;
- encouraging the reuse and recycling of building materials.
“GBC Italia’s mission is to promote the development of the only possible future for us, and to ensure a healthy, sustainable and resilient built environment for all.” Marco Mari, President of GBC Italia, stated at the beginning of the session.
“Our strategies are perfectly in line with the request of EU, asking to all member countries to set strategic development plan and policies based on sustainability and decarbonisation. In such context, it is paramount that the green finance supports the sustainable regeneration of our building stock and cities.”
Sustainable Green Finance
The recent EU’s Taxonomy Report sets an imperative approach for the green finance that, in order to reduce credit risks, needs to find a balance with the environment and bring the human being at the center of its activities.
“Today we face very demanding challenges”, declared David Maria Sassoli, President of the European Parliament – “We must design a new Europe that is fairer, greener, and more digital. Saving the planet can no longer be considered an option. It is not just a matter of developing good practices. We will need to leverage climate change to achieve greater economic and social sustainability. As part of the Green Deal and Next Generation, the European Commission will support a major renovation plan specifically focused on buildings: The Renovation Wave. The goal is to double the renewal rate in the next 10 years to reduce emissions, stimulate recovery, and reduce energy poverty. It is envisaged that The Renovation Wave project will drive as many as 35 million building refurbishments by 2030, while improving the quality of people’s lives, ensuring healthier environments and creating 160,000 new jobs.
This will represent a challenge for the Public Administration, investors, professionals and green construction companies.The regeneration of the built environment must be an imperative call from Europe, along with the adoption of the green building rating systems such those set by GBC Italia” – Sassoli continued “Governments must do their part by providing adequate economic support while attracting private investments through a sustainable finance strategy”.
Green building and the Renovation Wave
“Green building is the core of the Renovation Wave strategy. And the Green Finance is vital in order to restart the economy and to achieve the ambitious goals of the Green Deal”, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, vice president of the European Parliament, said.
“Making more sustainable our cities is not only possible, it is also beneficial for our lives. A change in production models is not enough. A cultural change is needed. We need to rethink our economic models and also banking policies, aiming to establishing full synergies between economics and ecology”, added Castaldo.
Next Generation EU and buildings energy efficiency
Approved by the Italian Parliament in 2020, the “Superbonus 110%” is a 110% tax credit of the expenditure made in order to improve homes energy efficiency and lower building seismic risks. The initiative, which was recently extended by the Italian Government until the end of 2022, has been appreciated by the European Commission as a best practice.
Economic growth and environmental sustainability
“Economic growth and environmental sustainability are not antithetical. We can achieve both.” according to the economist Carlo Cottarelli.
“If we focus our attention on the relationship between the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) and the per-capita income (PCI) of countries, we may realise that Countries with higher PCI are those that do best in environmental performance.” Cottarelli continued. “There are costs to preserve our environment. Recent studies have demonstrated that preserving our environment is costly in the short run, but in the long term there may be no costs associated. Indeed, if we do not take care of the environment now, our economy will be destroyed” said Cottarelli.
The e-conference continued with a round-table and contributions from green experts, finance and policy sector, including Marco Mari, president of GBC Italia, Fabrizio Capaccioli, vice-president of GBC-Italia, Fabio Massimo Castaldo and Eleonora Evi, MEPs, Salvatore Margiotta, undersecretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, President of the UniVerde Foundation, and Claudia Segre, Director of the Global Thinking Foundation.
The round-table was moderated by Fulvio Giuliani, journalist and Editor-in-Chief of RTL102.5, one of the key Italian radio channels.